What about new technology?

What should anarchists do with new technologies? The world is changing very rapidly with new technologies. Maybe in 50-60 years there will be technologies that enter the human body and keep it safe from harmful pathogens/diseases/etc. There might be virtual reality in which people can just plain old live their entire lives. Technology might make for a huge increase in material wealth. Technology might be able to feed all at anytime. Obviously I want to keep living my life as free as possible. Obviously I want anarchism. But, realistically, who, when these technologies come into being, would oppose them. And some anarchists would (post leftists. anti civ, primitivists. But who could make the argument to non anarchists and even other anarchists that we should still abolish law, the state, and technologies that can do these amazing things. Is there someway to have a technologically advanced society without law? I doubt it. Anyways what do you think?

Of course it doesn't allow you to control the thoughts of somebody living on another continent (which I know is a very important milestone to achieve for humans, duh), but you get way more control over it, instead of nano-scale circuit boards. But as far as crystal radios and even HAM radio internet are awesome ideas, not much people are into it.

...which is a good thing since this avoids all the Fedbook idiots.

Vinyl and needle pickups with an optional hand crank and horn speaker, stuff Zerzan would approve of, oh wait, no, they use steel needles and petro chemicals in the vinyl,,,,,

It isn't about managing capitalism. I know the whole revolution thing isn't working out for y'all, but without it, there seems to be this slide into market anarchist nonsense and petite-bourgeois concerns. The more and the longer revolution is rejected, the more anarchists grow increasingly stupid. Yes, the idea of revolution is pretty much a bunch of crap, a myth. Without this myth anarchists are weak and can't comprehend their own narrative and purpose.

There is a bunch of lying to yourself with the rejection of revolution. You want the smashy smashy, but you want it to be some jaded philosophy student at the same time. The aesthetics of anarchy is iconoclasm and such movements were founded on a lack of faith in institutions but at the same time a higher faith in the spirit and the people that made up the institutions. Certainly there is no revolution to end all revolutions, if we are thinking of some sort of world war. But there is no reason for a shared experience in anti-authoritarian expression without a focal point.

Insurrection attempted to be this, but it is trapped by its demographic appeal, primarily based on age. Maybe we live too long to be dangerous as a class, but I'd more say an insurrection is a fascination of those who have nothing to lose, which can also mean they have no stake in a longer, protracted battle to control our lives. There is a divide between the doers of the deeds and those who want a non-judgemental anarchy. If anarchists are fucking shit up, you best bet there is some judging going on. Especially if it is to move beyond reactive and defensive modes of operating.

I say all this on this thread because of the bourgeois nature of this topic. Maybe anarchy can be little pockets of individuals inside of capitalism that use solar panels. I don't want to waste my time with these people, but you could generate a definition of anarchy that makes this their version of anarchy. At a certain point though, we have to recognize, if this is what anarchy is, then perhaps anarchy is a bunch of stupid bullshit and maybe that revolution thing is more interesting than anarchist navel gazing and radical posturing?

Good post! I feel similarly about the nature of the problem but I think there's always other things to focus on, besides "revolution".

I don't dismiss or malign revolutionary posturing (let alone activity) because to me, that's just a sad attempt to cultivate a sense of intellectual superiority based on how weak we all are, which is too depressing! It's more about recognizing the traits that you're obscuring with vague terms like "revolutionary".

What kind of skills and experience would that person need to have? Regardless of whether the "revolution" is around the corner? Then you ask yourself, how else are those skills useful? Then, acquire those skills for different, more immediate contexts and use them. The "revolution" might never come but you're still learning and practicing stuff to do with conflict and self-reliance so it's a net gain and clearly not what most of the left is currently doing. Sure sure, everybody is shit-talking antifa these days but a lot of people have met each other and learned practical skills because of that tendency.

Now here's the best part, it doesn't need to have anything to do with countering the far right! Antifa/ARA is just one more context among countless others.

"Insurrection attempted to be this, but it is trapped by its demographic appeal, primarily based on age."

Hums... looking at the longevity of people involved in the local IWW crowd (3-4 years for the most prominent members, a few months for the most independent-thinking ones), I'd say that the revolutionary ideal is also one helluva teenage thing that gets easily lost in the social structures as times go by, or at worse, travestied through some forever fucked up entryist schemes.

I don't know what this whole "market anarchism" thing is, but you appear to be describing tendencies that are nothing else than the same old liberalism. Identity politics... bitcoin-mining... academic radical poseuring... all typical liberalism. Which consists in attempting to address issues (or not even addressing them, but giving the impression you do) at the low-hanging fruits level of things and not caring going any deeper.

So I still contend that between the broken revolutionary ideal and liberalism, insurrection still sits perfectly as the alternative. It's just that most of us, distracted and caught up with the daily routines of capital, don't see it clearly enough. And this really ain't just about smashing windows... which to me is a petty tactic like another.

Real insurrectionist anarchy is a praxis that is ageless. Plenty of Euro insurrecto anarchists are having a very significant post-30s existence, even if some are behind bars. I couldn't say the same of here where you're, like, forced to jump in the Left activist bandwagons when you get older, just to avoid being deemed an undercover or a sexual offender, or just because you ain't cool enough or too weird for the 20s anarchos...

People fucking grow up.

I'm one of these people you're theorizing about. A mid-30s anarchist, interested in and occasionally using an insurrectionary praxis. The hard limits I've ran in to were a simple lack of reliable comrades. It's barely even anything specific to the anarchist subculture where I live, although the flakiness is slightly moreso than the rest of the millenials.

People as a whole just can't seem to conceive of putting more than a few hours work in, like in a year! I don't hold a grudge when it's about survival like having to go to your wage job or whatever but I often get the sense like people expect their anarchism to pay off instantly or they're on to the next cheap thrill.

There are always some exceptions and those are my comrades but they are very few...

"The hard limits I've ran in to were a simple lack of reliable comrades"

Me too!

Walls made of VOID are the toughest. Especially when they got nice graffiti art painted on these.

"you're, like, forced to jump in the Left activist bandwagons when you get older, just to avoid being deemed an undercover or a sexual offender..." ugh, right? this was where i dropped out to focus on my own existence, not because i'm an individualist but because scenes based on rage and posturing don't age well

Existentialists do an ontological rev in our own heads, its cutting to the chase, carries no ethical burden, is fun and wins hearts and minds, non-invasive, non-authoritarian, non-hierarchical, does not have a use-by date,,,,,

My first take on it is still available here: https://freelab.libtech.website/2015/10/28/liberatory-technology/

Briefly: having an anarchist community defined, mostly by it's economic and decision-making systems, we can adjust technology to support the model. The problem is the scope of technology that is necessary for community to exist, but too complex (or externally dependent) to have it developed locally. Like computers, or maybe vaccines. Or just coffee.
The text I linked contains an attempt to answer it in certain way. But there are of course more ways to go.

With few comrades we are now building an anarchist technological cooperative, intended not only to build specific devices, abut also to generate some reflection (and praxis) regarding anarchist technological (and manufacturing) infrastructure.
It is of course motivated by current needs, but even more by two important questions:
-- What shall we do the day after the revolution prevails?
-- What shall we do the day when our people start dying because of climate change?
(whichever comes first).
See https://cnincoop.wordpress.com for our work in progress.

"... the day when our people start dying because of climate change?"
you mean the day in like, 2005? what are you talking about?

Short answer:
Since 1945 world has not seen the amount of death that is now mounting up for next few decades. We are only beginning to see its shape and size (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/). And this is only about direct health impact, not about political violence. So if 2005 fits you as a reference point -- be my guest. It makes absolutely no difference about things to come.

Long answer:
I live in a huge squat in Athens, called Prosfygika.
It is a neighbourhood of ~500 people, few of them anarchists, some of them of various revolutionary provenience, most of them just squatters, paperless migrants and such. We are 20 minutes by foot from Exarcheia, which -- within European movement at least -- is considered one of iconic areas of anarchist and anti-authoritarian movement. I am co-responsible for technical infrastructure in Prosfygika, especially for electric and computer networks.
For almost 4 years now I am also monitoring and analyzing situation in Greece from inside, including migration and refugees' situation.

I am also watching online anarchist and similar groups across internet.
According to my line of work, I am also watching our adversaries: state people, capitalists and "civilian" fascists. And I do analytical work on them. One of the outcomes of my work is my participation in CHI Coop (https://cnicoop.wordpress.com).

The fact that the movement is unprepared to survive successful _anarchist_ revolution, goes without saying. The fact that the successful anarchist revolution within our lifetime is highly improbable, too. Another simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of people who call themselves anarchists live in relatively wealthy and secure environments like Europe, Russia, North America. They may be politically oppressed, but they are still untouched by the changes that happen -- yet.

Now, the real radical change that is coming is a climate change and its fallout.
Current prognoses list the most prominent killing factors coming with that (no, they are not _risks_: they are happening and will be happening on a regular basis).

-- Resource wars and the use of environmental weapon: Israel, Turkey, to list a few I am somehow familiar with. On a lower level: privatisation of vital resources, arable land, wilderness areas and water reserves: Greenland, Patagonia, Puerto Rico are just the most radical showcases. All those processes just started, but they are killing people en masse AND triggering new Migration Age which some people try to downplay as "crisis". Still, not in the areas native to anarchist movement.

-- Heat waves and wet bulb heat are the first killers that are going to come to Europe, at least to its Southern areas. Not this year, I guess. This year they are going to start killing people in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Middle East. At least in significant numbers. But there is a visible raise of temperatures here in Greece already and at least heat waves are coming here soon. Granted, anarchists are mostly young people and they can endure a lot. But on the other hand, squatted buildings have weak and crumbling electric installations and they cannot stand massive use of air conditioning. So, when temperature and humidity goes beyond livable bracket, squatters go first.

-- Hurricanes and other harsh weather. Look at Harvey, that generated first stream of climate refugees directly triggered by the breakdown of industrial infrastructure in the US. People cannot return to their homes, as some areas are chemically contaminated with little chance to be cleaned any time soon. Look at Barbuda, that was heavily hit by the hurricane, people forced to evacuate and now the government is opening "empty" communal land for capitalists. Look at Puerto Rico, hit by two hurricanes and flood and now being finally exposed as the US colony, but being sold out massively nevertheless.
These are all places where more people died and will be dying due to many reasons, all coming from the climate change.

-- Current first/second-world anarchists are mainly living out of capitalism. Be it dumpster-diving, McJobs, welfare or simply family help. The money and nice things _do_ come from capitalism. Even gasoline for molotovs often comes from Middle Eastern oil fields. Because there is not enough anarchist economy, agriculture nor industry to cover living needs of the movement people -- our people. And unless we start hectically working on it, there will not be.
As the agriculture gets hit, with water resources dropping and vegetation zones shifting (https://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2697/26971701.jpg), capital and state will go hand-to-hand to tighten control over the population. And they are not stupid. They will use the scarcity -- the real, wartime economy scarcity -- as tool of control. Food, water, medical help, air conditioned shelter will be available under strict control. There is no need to extend it across the whole population. It is enough to employ face recognition, biometrics, big data to identify everyone who wants to access limited resources -- and compare it with Facebook and Twitter or any other ever-lasting database. So, comrades, the choice will be to obey or be excluded. And being excluded will mean death.

I am working on this topic for last 6 years now. Initially as the way to improve the quality of life in "alternative" communities. Since 2015, when I got (a tiny bit) involved in refugees' support and later in squat infrastructure, I realized that infrastructure is part of the struggle, heavily underrated by the movement, but crucial in fact.
For last two years I see very clearly that the disaster is coming and the level of awareness (let alone preparedness) within the movement is dramatically inadequate.

So I invite everyone who cares to discuss practicalities, in a goal oriented manner. Joining forces and doing things. Because as of now, we cannot help even ourselves let alone to change the world.

technological advances have stalled a long time ago and now is a period of stagnation. this consumer driven progress of technology doesn't mean technology is rapidly advancing. rapid technological advancement took place between world war 2 up to the 70s.

This is highly abstract and globalistic point of view.

It is valid, if we adopt capitalist "grow or die" paradigm. But I suggest we ask the question how it looks in terms of human needs. The fact the technology exists does not make it available to the people. At best, it may be put in some capitalist consumer gadget. At worst, locked in a controlled lab or deployed straight in the tools of oppression.

Before we start complaining about lack of new technologies, we have perhaps decades to catch up with adaptation and modification of existing solutions to the needs of anarchist communities. The stagnancy you mentioned is a gift for us -- the time given to us to gather our collective wits and start acting.

There is a whole area labelled "Liberatory Technology", which is mostly empty. Yes, capitalism got stagnant, at least visibly. But we have a long way to go, before we run out even of low-hanging fruits in this area, to name just a few:

  • Materials derived from industrial hemp and other plants.
  • Locally sourced constructions for solar, wind and biomass energy.
  • Water and waste treatment, especially in urban environment.
  • All kinds of "appropriate technologies" to be reviewed in context anarchist social model (and Global North conditions, if we want to implement it at home).

In practice, for a community and the movement, the level of technology adopted and deployed is very low. That means that there is a huge room for advance.
For liberatory technology, the accelerations only begins with wind turbines and biogas digesters being tested in the squats, with new generation of (horizontal, self-managed) social networks now being developed -- and possibly many more, unknown to me.

The work challenge is monumental, and there are just few collectives (and hardly any in Europe -- Calafou being the most prominent) joining anarchists political paradigm and technology development.

What we need is "barefoot liberatory technologist" -- an equivalent to Maoist "barefoot doctors" -- a body of standardized technical knowledge AND a community of people, introducing technology across the movement.

So no worry. There is a lot to do before we deplete the accumulated knowledge.

Disruptive technology is anything that threatens to destabilize the system. As a result, the Pentagon's worst nightmare is that a lot of technology suddenly becomes free. Its money and the gun that do all the talking worth listening to in modern day Babylon, which is why the largest manufactured export of the largest exporter in the world is weapons and, of course, like ancient Rome, all the goodies in the world come knocking on your door at low-low prices, as if by magic. Your money is worth your life, if ya got no guns, and your guns are always worth money.

That's the yin and the yang of modern day technology, and the Pentagon's other big worry is that their own technology is getting away from them. Some 40% of all Wall Street transactions are now handled by computers, meaning, soon enough nobody will have to worry about complete idiots running the world. Thankfully, the machines are much more creative.

Myself, I'm most of the way through extrapolating the convoluted fuzzy logic of the Tao Te Ching into a self-consistent, nontrivial, and demonstrable format, so I can prove to academics, in the most personal way imaginable, that they are full of shit. They are doing most of the talking, teaching complete idiots how to destroy the whole planet, and nobody is listening to them, unless of course, it makes them money. My book should be done in about 3 years or so, its not uncommon for these things to take roughly 12 years. Its the math, which requires enough editing to drive even the Three Stooges insane.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
Human?
6
j
R
X
c
V
z
Enter the code without spaces.